Hawkeyes Return Home to Face MSU, Michigan

Nov. 10, 2010

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The University of Iowa volleyball team hosts Michigan State Friday at 7 p.m. inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Admission is $3 for adults and free for youth 18 and younger and UI students with a valid ID.

The University of Iowa volleyball team entertains No. 16 Michigan Saturday at 7 p.m. inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Admission is $3 for adults and free for youth 18 and younger and UI students with a valid ID.

Iowa ranks No. 25 in national attendance averaging 1,326 fans through 10 home contests. Iowa threatened the school record against Iowa State Sept. 10 when 2,787 fans entered Carver-Hawkeye Arena to watch the first event of the 2010 Cy-Hawk Series. The attendance figure was short of the record 3,102 set vs. Penn State in 2009. The Hawkeyes ranked 23rd in national attendance a year ago and have set season attendance records in each of Dingman’s first two seasons.

Fans can follow Hawkeye volleyball at hawkeyesports.com, where play-by-play voice of the Hawkeyes Jordan Loperena will call the action live from Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Both matches will be broadcast live with audio and video via Hawkeye All-Access, a subscription service committed to providing quality coverage of Hawkeye athletic events.

Live stats and live blogging will be available for every match throughout the season. A member of the Iowa volleyball staff will offer scoring updates and interactive content from the Official Iowa Volleyball Blog. Former Hawkeye Katie Kennedy operates the blog for Iowa’s home games and manager Melissa Brockway hosts the blog on Hawkeye road trips. Fans can also follow the action with live stats. Visit the Iowa volleyball page at hawkeyesports.com for links to live stats, blogging and Gametracker.

Freshman Bethany Yeager has started each of Iowa’s 23 contests and has appeared in all 84 sets played. Iowa’s 5-7 libero is on pace to become the first freshman since 2005 to start every match. In 2005, freshmen Kiley Fister, Emily Hiza and Catherine Smale started each of Iowa’s 33 matches. Hiza set the freshman record for digs, picking up 472 saves (3.87 per set). Yeager currently averages 4.45 digs per set, totaling 374 digs in 84 sets.

Junior Mallory Husz and senior Becky Walters are both on the verge of topping 200 kills. Husz leads the team with a career-best 193 kills while Walters ranks second with a career-best 191 kills.

Freshman Chante’ Thompson started the fourth match of her career Nov. 6 at Indiana. Thompson started at middle blocker and matched her career-high with six kills. In four starts this season (10/6 vs. Minn; 10/8 at NW; 10/15 at Ohio State; 11/6 at Indiana) Thompson has totaled 18 kills and eight blocks.

500 CLUB
Senior Becky Walters picked up her 500th career kill Oct. 30 versus Northwestern. The redshirt senior entered the contest with 497 career kills and finished the match with a team-high eight kills. Walters has recorded a career-high 191 kills in 2010.

Bethany Yeager has started each of Iowa’s 23 contests.

The Hawkeyes rank fifth in the Big Ten in digs per set. Iowa (14.96) is led by freshman libero Bethany Yeager, who picks up 4.45 digs per set, the fourth best total in the conference. She is the only freshmen listed among the conference’s top 10 leaders in digs per set.

Freshman Nikki Dailey came off the bench to dish a team-high 21 assists against No. 24 Northwestern (10/30). Dailey’s assist total was the second highest of her career. She ranks second on the team averaging 3.08 assists per set.

Senior Becky Walters has 31 service aces in 21 matches. At her current rate, she will finish with 43 service aces, the highest total since Lisa Dockray served 43 aces in 1995. Since the inception of rally scoring in 2001, the school record for service aces in a season is 36, set by Sara Meyermann in 2001. Walters ranks fourth in the conference averaging 0.37 aces per game. Iowa’s middle blocker entered the season with 15 career service aces but has more than doubled that total with 31 in 2010.

Freshman libero Bethany Yeager is on pace to become the first freshman since 2005 to lead the team in digs as a freshman (Emily Hiza – 472). Yeager has 374 digs through 23 matches and is pace for 471 saves, one shy of the freshmen record held by Hiza. She has picked up at least 20 digs seven times this season, including 24 vs. Wisconsin (10/22), 32 vs. Indiana (10/1), 21 vs. Saint Louis (9/4), 33 vs. Creighton (9/4), 20 vs. Wake Forest (9/3), 21 vs. Green Bay (8/29) and 23 vs. Southern Illinois (8/28).

The Hawkeyes have started four freshmen in a single match three times this season, more than any other Big Ten team. Rachael Bedell, Nikki Dailey, Chante’ Thompson and Bethany Yeager have started at Northern Illinois (9/19), vs. Minnesota (10/6) and at Northwestern (10/8). Yeager has not missed a set while starting every match at the libero position. Dailey has nine starts under her belt and OH Rachael Bedell has started 15 matches. Chante’ Thompson made her fourth career start Nov. 6 at Indiana and matched a career best with six kills.

Three Hawkeyes have started every match this season. Senior MB Becky Walters, junior OH Megan Eskew and freshman libero Bethany Yeager have started each of Iowa’s 23 contests. Walters leads Iowa in blocks (76) and service aces (31); Yeager leads Iowa with 374 digs and Eskew leads the team in total attacks (666).

Six Hawkeyes have recorded double-doubles this season, but none more than junior Paige Stevens. Iowa’s setter has posted seven double-doubles, all of which were of the assist-dig variety. Stevens’ last double-double (25 assists, 12 digs) came in Iowa’s five-set loss to Illinois (10/23). Other Hawkeyes to record double-doubles include Megan Eskew (5), Nikki Dailey (3), Mallory Husz (1), Tiffany Nilges (1) and Becky Walters (1).

Megan Eskew leads Iowa with 666 total attacks.

Six times this season Iowa has played into the fifth set. The Hawkeyes have been victorious in four of the six matches. The Hawkeyes rallied from two sets down to top Southern Illinois (8/28), nearly lost a two-set advantage before topping Creighton (9/4) and rallied from a 2-1 deficit to beat Saint Louis (9/4). The Hawkeyes have lost five-set decisions at Drake (9/14) and vs. Wisconsin (10/22). Iowa was 2-1 in five-set matches last season.

For the first time in program history, the Iowa volleyball team started 3-0 in consecutive seasons. Iowa swept through the Hawkeye Challenge to post its 3-0 record this year. In 2009, the Hawkeyes matched the best start in program history by winning their first six matches. The Hawkeyes’ 5-1 start matches the second-best start in program history. Only the 1978, 1988 and 2009 teams started the season with a better record (6-0).

Senior Becky Walters and junior Megan Eskew are team captains for the 2010 season. Walters, a fifth-year senior from Parkersburg, IA, leads Iowa with 31 service aces and 74 total blocks. Eskew missed 2009 with a knee injury but returned to the court with a bang by earning all-tournament honors at the season-opening Hawkeye Challenge.

Michigan State is led by Head Coach Cathy George, who is in her sixth season at the helm of the Spartans. Junior Jenilee Rathje leads the Michigan State offensive attack with a .358 hitting percentage, the fourth best percentage in the conference. Michigan State leads the all-time series, 35-24. The teams split the season series in 2009, with each team defending their home court. The Hawkeyes last topped the Spartans, 3-0, in Iowa City Oct. 11, 2009. Michigan State won the first meeting of 2010, 3-1, in East Lansing.

The 16th-ranked Wolverines are led by 12th-year coach Mark Rosen and outside hitter Alex Hunt, who leads the Big Ten with 413 kills, 4.39 per set. Michigan leads the all-time series 31-23 and has won the last six meetings. Iowa last defeated the Wolverines in 2007. The Hawkeye rallied from two sets down to defeat Michigan, 3-2, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena (28-30, 29-31, 30-26, 30-28, 15-10).